50 years of AFTRS


The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) is marking its 50th anniversary in style, with screen and broadcast leaders gathering in Sydney to acknowledge the school’s achievements over five decades.

This week it brought together its inaugural class of 1974 – along with its incoming students of 2023 – to kick off a year of celebrations.

Specials guests included internationally acclaimed director and 1973 alum Gillian Armstrong, AFTRS Council Chair Russel Howcroft (pictured above) and founding Director at AFTRS, Storry Walton.

Founding Chair of AFTRS, former Federal Minister Barry Jones, was part of a group of committed Australians determined to invigorate an Australian screen industry.

At the time, Mr Jones said “The school must act as a revolutionary force. There can be no half measures.  We must create one of the world’s great film schools, or we must abandon the project at once.”

Federal Minister and Envoy for the Arts Susan Templeman congratulated AFTRS on its contribution to Australia’s creative workforce and culture.

“AFTRS was established in 1973 to be a revolutionary force in Australian culture. Since then, it has produced some of our finest storytellers, producers and crews.”

“It has an extraordinary legacy, but the school’s mission today is just a crucial as it was in 1973, when it was formally opened by Gough Whitlam.”

“We need creative, innovative and skilled Australians to bring our stories to our screens and airwaves now more than ever.”

AFTRS CEO Dr. Nell Greenwood (main picture) says “Our first 50 years have seen AFTRS become one of the world’s top screen and broadcast schools and a ground-breaking force in Australian culture.”

“Looking forward, we must continue to meet the revolutionary ambition of our founders with the same sense of urgency and passion. And for AFTRS, the next 50 years must be about access and equity.”

“We want talent across Australia to know that one of the world’s leading screen and broadcast schools is on their doorstep – and it’s here to help them realise their own big, bold dreams – whatever their background, wherever they’re from.”

AFTRS is regarded as one of the world’s leading creative schools with its alumni at the forefront of Australian and international screen and broadcast, and since 1973, has launched the careers of over five thousand film, television, radio and new media professionals.

Graduates have been nominated for and won a slew of prestigious gongs, including a haul of Academy Awards, AACTAs, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and Emmys.

AFTRS alumni include Nova FM’s Tim Blackwell, from Kate, Tim and Joel, 2GB’s Greg Byrnes (Head of Content, Nine Radio), SCA’s Melanie Withnall (Head of News and Information) and Rohan Edwards (co-host of Hot Nights with Abbie Chatfield); ABC’s Michael Mason (former Head of Radio), Simon Marnie (host of Weekend Mornings, ABC Sydney), Alice Moldovan (Producer, Conversations), Nick Findlay (Music Director, Triple J) and ARN’s Mike Byrne (Content Director, WSFM).

Below: Susan Templeman, a former radio journalist, tells of how working in radio helped her in her path to politics.

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Charlie Tuna
22 Feb 2023 - 2:24 pm

I guess AFTRS dont train would be jocks anymore, all pretty sad really


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